22 days of devotions
by FOndee bRuce
My granny was a feisty, sassy redhead and one of nine children. She was opinionated and vocal and stayed busy taking care of chickens, cows, and a garden; canning, cooking, teaching children’s Sunday school classes, sewing, and taking care of her politician/ cowboy husband. She lived on a farm and understood chores and seasons. I remember going to her house when I was a teenager and using her phone; she had a party line, which meant the line was shared with her neighbors. Common courtesy and consideration and communication were imperative under those circumstances. I remember the sound of the neighbor picking up the receiver on her phone and clicking the receiver button. A few minutes later she would repeat her “message.” If I didn’t respond I might hear a sigh of exasperation followed by the “click, click, click” of pushing the receiver button. Maybe clearing her throat and then the very obvious request, “I need to make a call.” I didn’t normally let it get to that point. Exasperating my granny’s neighbor was really not in my best interest.
And sometimes the roles were reversed, and I would pick up the phone and hear her conversation – probably more concise and prudent than my meandering and silly teen conversations (although that wasn’t my perspective at the time).
If you wanted to use the phone you would need to “tarry.” My grandmother’s phone was in the kitchen (like most of them were). She had pens and paper for notes beside it. Notes, appointments, times, names, recipes, names, addresses, phone numbers, reminders, and letters cold be found at any given time around that old avocado green rotary phone.
You needed to “tarry” and remember what you were doing. There were no cell phones or computers or email or even answering machines. You had to be more mindful and intentional with your time and the telephone. And sometimes I had to wait my turn to use the phone. Communication depended on it. I wasn’t always patient about it, but I learned to tarry.
As I was reflecting on my granny and her life and my memories of her I thought of her favorite song, “In the Garden.”
I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.
I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.
If you’re wanting to hear this song, I strongly suggest the version by Selah on Spotify… it is very moving.
I’ve used the word tarry already, but I haven’t defined it yet.
Tarry – to linger in expectation; wait; to abide or stay in or at a place.
Luke 24:40 AMPFLIFIED Listen carefully: I am sending the Promise of My Father [the Holy Spirit] upon you; but you are to remain in the city [of Jerusalem] until you are clothed (fully equipped) with power from on high.”
Matthew 26:38 KJV Then saith he unto them, my soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
The Hebrew word for tarry literally means to tie yourself to or to commit to.
So now we have a bit of framework to work with for the word “tarry.” It’s a word that is not as common today. Today’s meaning is more negative in its connotation; it means to delay or be tardy; to be late. So… there is much to learn in the reconciliation of these terms. It’s so easy for me to jump ahead and make a decision or judgement in haste. I don’t want to be late or miss something. I am not one to hesitate generally. And I miss what God wants to do in my haste when I don’t discipline myself to TARRY. I am training myself to TARRY And linger and wait. I love the words that are used: abide, linger, stay. The peace I seek, the living water I thirst for, the fulfillment I crave can be found if I will learn to tarry. There is no substitute for what is to be found experienced and gained in His presence.
The scripture in Matthew 26:38 (see above) is heart wrenching. I have a difficult time reading it without an emotional response. My heart breaks and my gut twists. Jesus is vulnerable and open and pleads with his closest friends, his disciples, to “tarry.” The disciples fall asleep. Jesus asked them a second time to watch and pray and even warned them against a weak flesh. They slept again. He found them asleep the third time and left to go and pray. The Bible states, “their eyes were heavy.” Other versions say, “they couldn’t keep their eyes open.” There’s a whole devotion in that simple part alone, but I’ll try to stay on this one for now.
The first time Jesus appealed to their level of compassion/ love/ relationship with Him. the second time He questioned them and issued a warning for their personal walk. The third time, He said nothing and went to pray alone.
And my heart is broken because I realize my eyes are heavy. I realize I have not tarried. I have not waited. I’ve rushed and I’ve assumed, and I’ve moved forward expecting God to follow me. I’ve indulged my flesh and I’ve allowed my physical state to dictate my spiritual disciplines. I want to discipline myself to tarry.
Psalm 46:10 MSG Attention, all! See the marvels of God! He plants flowers and trees all over the earth, bans war from pole to pole, breaks all the weapons across his knee. “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”
Passion Translation Surrender your anxiety! Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God. I am the God above all the nations, and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth
NKJ Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
I just had to get that last verse in… How can we really KNOW that He is God if we can’t BE STILL? The enemy has stolen our ability to be still; he has distracted us; we have been programmed with technology and social media… is there really any wonder why we have such a limited understanding of the character and pure vastness of God and who He is?
What is your understanding of the word “tarry”?
How can you exercise the discipline of “tarry” in 2021?